WEST ORANGE – The Seton Hall Prep varsity basketball team won all three games last week to extend its winning streak to 13 games and improve to an 18-1 record, including 8-0 in the Super Essex Conference-American Division. The Pirates are undefeated in New Jersey competition this season at 15-0.
The Pirates traveled to the West Ward in Newark on Feb. 1 to take on West Side and won, 77-56. Senior guard and University of Notre Dame-bound T.J. Gibbs had 26 points, six rebounds and a career-high eight assists and junior forward Treyvon Bennett had a career-highs of 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead SHP. Senior forward Zach Keller had 11 points and six rebounds in the win.
SHP traveled to the Ironbound section of Newark on Feb. 4 to play East Side and won, 69-57. Gibbs had 30 points, five rebounds and three steals; Keller scored 16 points; senior guard Stephen Ferraro had nine points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals; and Bennett collected eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
In a meeting between two top 10 teams in New Jersey, the Pirates hosted Gill St. Bernard’s and won 58-54, in an outstanding game on Feb. 6. SHP trailed by as much as eight points in the second quarter despite Keller scoring 10 points in the first half. The Pirates came back in the second half behind the scrappy play of Bennett and Ferraro.
With the score tied at 54 with 7.2 seconds left in the game, Gibbs hit two free throws to give SHP a 56-54 lead. The Pirates put the game away with 1.1 seconds left when Gibbs stole a pass and was fouled. He hit both free throws to make the final 58-54. Following the game, Keller said, “This was a great game. Our fan section was so loud, and with this atmosphere, it is very hard to lose.” Gibbs added, “This was a great game I’ll remember. This is the first time we really had it tough and had to push through. I knew we had it in us and we had to show it.” Ferraro commented, “They are a great team and play great basketball. It was a hard-fought game and we pulled it out but either one of us could have pulled it out.”
Gibbs finished with 16 points; Keller had 15 points and eight rebounds; Ferraro recorded nine points, six rebounds and three steals; and Bennett had nine points and five rebounds.
The defending champion and top-seeded Pirates will host a first-round game in the 70th Essex County Tournament on Feb. 13 against either No. 17 seed Verona or No. 16 seed Millburn. Verona and Millburn were to meet in the third preliminary round on or by Feb. 11.